The photography of Edward Bishop.

Posted on November 3, 2010


I’m becoming increasingly interested in photography since my visit to Foto8 earlier this year. One thing that I’ve found truly remarkable is the sheer number of talented photographers that are out there today.

One such photographer is Brighton based Edward Bishop. His work is certainly varied, covering editorial, portraiture, music and commercial photography, but it always has a strong sense of vibrancy and composition.

I spoke to Edward about what brought him to photography, his development, his influences and inspirations and what he loves most about the medium.

Ed, when did you realise that you wanted to be a photographer?

“I was introduced to photography at a young age by a school teacher and shot, developed and printed my first roll at the age of 13. I can still remember seeing that first print coming to life in the dark room. The red light, the smell of chemicals, the sliver of light under the door. I realised the significance of photography for me at that moment.”

So, you were bitten by the bug early on. Did you start shooting straight away?

“Yeah, I fell in love with photography immediately and shot everything I could, from friends to buildings and landscapes. With those first photographs I was simply shooting what was around me. The joy was as much in exposing the negative as it was developing it.”

One thing that strikes me is the composition in your work. Did it take you long to discover your style and hone your technique?

“Actually, for a long time I shot only B&W. I love that it forces you to focus solely on light and composition…I shoot film whenever I can, there is something quite special about exposing negative, taking time to set up the shot, taking light readings, deciding on exposure.”

Ed is clearly passionate when it comes to portraiture as is evident from the photographers that have influenced him, from Edward Weston and Irving Penn to Wolfgang Tillmans, Stephen Shore and Juergen Teller. Like Shore and Tillmans, Ed’s portraits have a sense of naturalism to them which he achieves by distancing himself from the subject, allowing them to feel a sense of disconnect from the process and essentially putting them at ease. There is still the strong sense of composition you get from a Penn photograph, but there is also a sense of closeness and realism.

How do you create the sense of naturalism in your portraits whilst still maintaining the composition?

“When photographing a portrait my aim is to capture the mundane and make it interesting. I generally don’t interact with the subject other than asking them to move for composition. Without this interaction they start to forget about me and the camera and become slightly absent. For me this is when camera begins to reveal something unique about the sitter.”

However, becoming a full-time photographer is challenging and Ed had to make some serious decisions, one of which was giving up an already successful career in the film industry. It was a risk, however, since going full time eighteen months ago, Ed has gone from strength to strength, having shot the likes of Tracy Thorn, Ben Watt and Mick Jones. Ed has also shot on-set stills for Chris Cunningham, as well as embarking on his own projects.

You can see more of Ed’s work here: